SPECIAL REPORT: FMCSA has three months to fix HOS

| 10/1/2007

Monday, Oct. 1, 2007 – For at least three more months, there won’t be any changes to the hours-of-service regulations and there won’t be any changes to the sleeper-berth provisions this time.

On July 24, the court tossed the provision that increased driving time to 11 hours from 10 hours and the 34-hour restart provision. In that same decision, the court denied a petition by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association asking the court to consider the impact of changes to the sleeper-berth provision.

The court’s July decision – initially to go into effect Sept. 14 – was held off by petitions by OOIDA and the American Trucking Association.

OOIDA petitioned for a rehearing on its request to review changes to the split-sleeper berth provision and how FMCSA arrived at the final rule. ATA asked that the court’s decision not go into effect for eight months. ATA’s request for a stay was echoed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration – only the agency wanted a 12-month stay.

In an order handed down by the court late Friday, Sept. 28, nobody got their way, really.

OOIDA’s petition for a rehearing was denied and the court’s order will go into effect in three months, not eight months as requested by ATA, or 12 months as requested by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

“Obviously we’re disappointed in the court’s decision denying our petition,” OOIDA Director of Regulatory Affairs Rick Craig said.

OOIDA officials are in the process of reviewing options for working toward changes to the rule in the future.

In the meantime, truckers are to continue operating under the current regulation, using the 11th hour of driving time and the 34-hour restart provision if they want.

In the 90 days leading up to Dec. 27, FMCSA must take some sort of official agency action to make any changes to the regulation.

– By Jami Jones, senior editor